What are long odds and short odds?

March 28, 2023

Knowing the odds is Key to becoming a skilled sports bettor. How do you know if you’re getting good value from a bookmaker if you need to know the difference between long and short odds?

Bookmakers use odds to express risk and reward – such as 10/1. The smaller the odds (1/5), the higher the risk for the bookmaker.

The longer the odds, the greater the reward for the client. Below we learn more about short and long odds.

Short odds

Low odds is a phrase used to describe a range of bookmaker prices. Typically, these odds will be “even” (1-1) or lower. For example, “even money” means you risk £10 to win £10.

If a bookmaker bets on a coin toss, it will be an even money bet. The result is fifty-fifty because the coin has an equal chance of heads or tails.

Horse racing is a sport where you often see quotes below even odds. Cheltenham’s big games often fetch favorites for less than money.

Very low odds may include something like 2/5, so for every £10 you bet, you will get £14 back if you win (£10 stake returned plus £4 profit). Playing slot machines online may give you a better return on investment.

Low odds saw when an outcome is highly likely to occur. Liverpool is unlikely to beat Scunthorpe United in the third round of the FA Cup. Examples of short odds include 3/5, 1/2, EVS, 1/5, 7/10, 11/8.

Remember that the odds are small when the outcome of an event is more likely. Now that you know more about bearish odds, let’s look at the other end of the paytable.

Long odds

“Long Odds” refers to bets where you win more money than you risk. Usually, you will see losers with big odds in sports.

Famous racehorse Foinavon won the 1967 Grand Prix with odds of 100/1. Bookmakers and bettors gave him no chance of winning. Fortunately for Foynaven, the other horses in the race went down, allowing him to make his way home easily without encountering resistance.

Leicester City won the EP League title in 2016. Ranked Outsiders are at 5000/1 with the bookies ahead of the season’s first game.

Leicester’s success proves that anything can happen in sports. However, long shots treat with caution. Statistically, hot stocks with low prices win more often. For example, on a flat field, favorites at odds 1/4 or shorter win 86% of the time.

What exactly is considered “long odds”? Well, that’s up for debate. Some would say that anything over “even money” is a big odds. However, once your odds are above 5/1, you can safely say you are in very high odds territory. I’d be happy if I bet 5/1 or 20/1. In the example image above, you can see the odds displayed on the bet slip as 50/1. Betting £10 at 50/1 odds will net you £500.

Therefore, there is a difference between long odds and short odds. Remember, a little research before you place your bet can go a long way. Statistics are your friend; the more you learn, the better your chances of winning.

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